The Golden Ass

Front Cover
Createspace Independent Pub, Feb 2, 2014 - Fiction - 150 pages
To the Right Honourable and Mighty Lord, THOMAS EARLE OF SUSSEX, Viscount Fitzwalter, Lord of Egremont and of Burnell, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, Iustice of the forrests and Chases from Trent Southward; Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners of the House of the QUEENE our Soveraigne Lady. After that I had taken upon me (right Honourable) in manner of that unlearned and foolish Poet, Cherillus, who rashly and unadvisedly wrought a big volume in verses, of the valiant prowesse of Alexander the Great, to translate this present booke, contayning the Metamorphosis of Lucius Apuleius; being mooved thereunto by the right pleasant pastime and delectable matter therein; I eftsoones consulted with myself, to whom I might best offer so pleasant and worthy a work, devised by the author, it being now barbarously and simply framed in our English tongue. And after long deliberation had, your honourable lordship came to my remembrance, a man much more worthy, than to whom so homely and rude a translation should be presented. But when I again remembred the jesting and sportfull matter of the booke, unfit to be offered to any man of gravity and wisdome, I was wholly determined to make no Epistle Dedicatory at all; till as now of late perswaded thereunto by my friends, I have boldly enterprised to offer the same to your Lordship, who as I trust wil accept the same, than if it did entreat of some serious and lofty matter, light and merry, yet the effect thereof tendeth to a good and vertuous moral, as in the following Epistle to the reader may be declared. [...]

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About the author (2014)

Apuleius, of African birth, was educated in Carthage and Athens. His most famous work, The Golden Ass (c.150), is the tale of a young philosopher who transformed himself not into a bird as he had expected, but into an ass. After many adventures he was rescued by the goddess Isis. The episode of "Cupid and Psyche," told with consummate grace, is the most celebrated section. This romance of the declining Empire influenced the novels of Boccaccio, Cervantes, Fielding (see Vol. 1), and Smollett (see Vol. 1); Heywood used the theme for a drama and William Morris (see Vol. 1) used some of the material in The Earthly Paradise. Robert Graves's "translation abandons the aureate Latinity of Apuleius for a dry, sharp, plain style---which is itself a small masterpiece of twentieth-century prose" (Kenneth Rexroth, SR SR). The new translation by John Arthur Hanson is authoritative.

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